What a week(end)!

Catching up, although that will take a few days.

Busy last week juggling the first week of my last Build cycle before I start my race taper with moving, work and live in general. Work prevented a couple of workouts due to unscheduled meetings, but that’s life. I tacked on some extra time on my rides to make up for some of the “lost” time, but I made sure I didn’t overextend on those rides.

The big event was this weekend. We drove up to Madison, Wisconsin to celebrate my cousin’s marriage. What made it really special is that the last time I saw her, she was the flower girl in my sister’s wedding. Eighteen years ago.

A lot has transpired since then. Family dramas, family moves, deaths, births and just life in general. Yet we somehow managed to keep in touch. And it was great to see her (and her brother) again.

Madison’s a wonderful town. Our first visit there. Likely not our last. It sure seemed as if every car had a bike or kayak rack (or both) on it.

Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 4:30am. Time to squeeze in a long run before the wedding. My cousin was kind enough to talk to some friends who recommended a lovely loop around Lake Wingra, based at the UW Arboretum. Since I was to leave the family sleeping comfortably in the hotel room, the six mile loop was perfect for an unsupported run. My goal was three hours, which I figured would be three loops, with perhaps an extra out and back at the end if I was ahead of schedule.

I started running at 6 a.m. Gorgeous weather. Although my cousin apologized for it being “humid”, compared to Kentucky/Tennessee it was beautifully dry. High clouds blocked the sun, so the whole run was at a comfortable 74 degrees.

Running in Madison was a world of difference from KY/TN. Instead of the redneck refrain of “Get off the road, fag”, I was greeted with a constant stream of “Good morning” and “How ya doin’?”. It was great. Cyclists and runners everywhere.

Dodging deer. Dodging wild turkey (no, not the drink. But a lovely glass of Glenlivet the night before was a great nightcap). Dodging geese. Even giving thumbs up to the folks that were kind enough to not only put up a sign, but actually plumbed a drinking fountain in their front yard for “joggers, bicyclists, dogs, cats and anyone else who wants some water”. What a service!

Anyway, back to the run. The first loop was a steady effort at a nice steady 9:16 pace. Nothing speedy. I carried water and fuel with me, thanks to my water bottles and Fuel Belt. I needed to best replicate the availability of water and fuel on race day, so waiting until the end of each 6-mile loop wasn’t sufficient. Plus, I’m a heavy, heavy sweater so having the fluid available is a good thing.

Second loop was almost identical to the first, at a 9:22 pace. I was still feeling strong at the end of the loop, although I had to stop and put on some extra Body Glide under the ball of my left foot. Wringing out the sock was entertaining, since it was soaked through. Matter of fact, by this point I couldn’t sneak up on anyone to save my life, since the steady squish-squish-squish of my socks and shoes announced my approach. Like I said, I’m a heavy sweater.

Third loop started off great. Still holding a 9:20-ish pace. At mile 15 the legs just stopped. In a funny way. It’s as if a switch was flipped. It wasn’t a steady deterioration, just a stop. I ended up practicing my walk/run strategy. I could hold a good 9:00-9:15 pace for 4-5 minutes, then have to walk for a minute or two. Then right back into the same pace. It worked fine for me and was interesting to work through. I know it’s what I’ll do during the race.

Overall time for the 18 miles ended up being 2:56:22, which works out to an average 9:47 pace. I’ll take it.

I doubt I’ll do such a long run again between now and race time. For me it takes too long to recover from those runs, which ends up impacting the rest of my workouts. Granted, the 10 hours in the car yesterday did nothing for me. Even with the seat heater going (and the AC full-blast) I steadily tightened up . By the time we got home I was gimping pretty hard. This morning’s easy 3-mile run felt OK, but nothing to get excited about.

However, I do have a six hour and then an eight hour brick scheduled for the next two weekends. I think I’ll drop the bike back a bit and extend the runs some. Although on that eight hour I’ll have to keep enough energy to take my lovely bride to see Allison Krauss that night. We can’t wait.

Anyway, the wedding that afternoon was wonderful.  I took my camera gear for my own pictures.  They had two photographers there working the event, so I did my best to stay out of their way.  I took almost 300 pictures (digits are cheap), so I’ll be processing those and posting them for friends and family.  My lovely bride even asked if I’d consider shooting weddings, which I said “No!”.  Too much pressure.  I’d rather be the odd guy off to the side and shoot to my satisfaction, not worried about whether or not the bride and groom will appreciate my eye.

Watch the side bar in the future – I may post a shot or two over there.

In the meantime, it’s work and catching up with school work, which the move put me behind. And I’ve got my final next week, so that should prove to be interesting.

Hope all’s well with you!


4 thoughts on “What a week(end)!”

  1. Thanks, Tea.

    Re: that brick. There are several schools of thought on that. The one that I ascribe to is doing as close to a race simulation as you can at 8 and 4 weeks out. However, that doesn’t mean that you do the entire race.

    The swim is the swim and you can do that in the pool or open water at your convenience; it doesn’t need to be the same day. The big brick should be the full bike leg distance followed by a run that shouldn’t exceed one hour.

    The bike is very important since that’s where you’ll take in most of your nutrition during your race, so you really need to dial that in; and you need to practice it a few times so that you learn how your body reacts to your fueling plan. Also, the stronger you are on the bike, the better your run is going to be. The reason the run shouldn’t be longer than about an hour is that you really start increasing your chances of injury after that; something you want to avoid at any time.

    Other folks do “Iron Weekends”, where they will do the full distance of each leg spread over the two days. That’s another option, but for me it takes too long to recover from such an epic run that the negatives outweigh the positives.

    There are many different ways to skin this cat. Find what works for you and go with it. Just be ready to adjust if something that did work no longer does.


  2. Great run – especially hanging in there to the end. Running loops is tough though – the “aw, I’ve been here before!” boredom factor, and the easy option of bailing out as you pass home again. But I guess that’s part of the point – to build the mental toughness to keep on going?

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